Opinion

A platform of hypocrisy

Frank Corder Contributor

“Renewing America’s Promise” was the title of the 2008 Democratic Party National Platform.  I’m guessing you’ve never read it.  Heck, I hadn’t either until recently.  I highly recommend you look it up, print it out, and give it a read.  Oh, and grab a highlighter and a red pen just for the fun of it; I’m sure you’ll find much to mark up.  Let’s just say my copy looks like the rough draft of a freshman term paper after only one sitting.

This Democratic Platform, which can be found at www.democrats.org, begins with a preamble that includes these words:

“…We Democrats have a special commitment to this promise of America.  We believe that every American, whatever their background or station in life, should have the chance to get a good education, to work at a good job with good wages, to raise and provide for a family, to live in safe surroundings, and to retire with dignity and security…”

Now doesn’t that sound all nice and patriotic?  Reminds me of the American Dream we once heard spoke of so reverently in our homes and churches, schools and city halls.  You remember that, don’t you?  The American Dream, the idea that every American, no matter where they were born or who their parents were, through hard work and individual responsibility could have a better, richer, and fuller life.

Since this platform was adopted in 2008, Obama and the Democrat faithful, including the union bosses, have used this document as their bible in promoting legislation and when hitting the stump.  Just this week in Ohio, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka heralded, “Brothers and sisters, our vision for America is on the line.  It’s a vision of a better, stronger future, a renewal of the American Dream — the dream that all of us can earn a fair portion of the good things in life, time with our families, an education for our children, a voice on the job, a comfortable retirement — even if we’re not rich.”  Sound familiar?  According to The Daily Caller, Trumpka went on to criticize businesses for saving money during hard economic times, calling it “economic treason,” but I digress.

As you read on in the Democratic Platform it seems the Democrats are hearkening us back to better days, calling on us all as Americans to renew the American Dream, send forth good American leadership, cultivate American community, and promote American democracy.  But if you read carefully, it’s easy to see the hypocrisy and blatant class discrimination propagated throughout these 59 pages of Democratic Party rhetoric.  It is as if they are subtly promoting a war between Americans of differing socio-economic standings.  It’s the same rhetoric that is now being sold to the American people in the run up to perhaps the most vital mid-term elections in U.S. history.

The Democratic Party proclaims to be the political party that is looking out for all Americans, that is standing in the gap fighting for equality and justice and fairness in government.  Democrats and their associated groups, from the NAACP to the ACLU and others, rally and march and speak out against hatred and bias and discrimination.  Even the Democratic National Committee’s website says,

“Democrats have a long and proud history of defending Civil Rights and expanding opportunity for all Americans. From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, Democrats have fought to end discrimination in all forms—including discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity or national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability. We believe in the essential American ideal that no one should be constrained by the circumstances of their birth, and that each of us should have the opportunity to make of our lives what we will.”

These are but words on a page for the Democrats of today.  Democratic leaders in America along with those who stand beside them, groups such as the ACLU, AFL-CIO, and the NAACP — organizations that once upheld the message of unity and inclusion — now spew hatred and division onto the American society we all love and cherish.  Their hypocrisy is rampant and continues to grow as we move from an era of compromise to an era of principle.  America will not settle for the politics of the past; we deserve better from both sides of the aisle.

Yet, when the going gets tough for Democrats, they revert to two divisive issues: race and wealth.  Both issues flare tempers, alert the media, and impassion a section of their voting base.  Unfortunately for America, both issues only segregate our country in thought and deed, allowing for the same harsh political environment the Democrats themselves demonized in their 2008 platform.

I’ve spoken on racial or ethnic equality many times.  It is the driving force behind so many of our ills today, and yet the debate still rages because we as citizens allow it to linger.  Some, even the groups listed above, propagate its existence to stir animosity and resentment, to garner political favor, and to justify and satisfy their own personal prejudices.  These vultures strive to divide; they fight against unity in America.

We must move past labels and reclaim our national identity, not as individuals, but as one citizenship.  You see, running through my veins is blood that was created by the Almighty right here in America, not Europe or Asia or Africa or Mexico.  I am not white or black, Anglo-Saxon or African-American, Hispanic or Vietnamese, Baptist or Catholic, Jew or Hindu.  I am simply an American, nothing more, nothing less, no hyphens and that is enough. Had I migrated here from another country and swore an oath as a citizen of this great land I, too, would be simply an American.  Such is the essence of our hope and existence as one citizenship.

The other political ploy Democrats routinely use is that of wealth.  Even now Obama and Company seem to be propagating class discrimination by way of taxation.  Socio-economic status should not affect how the government treats you.  Those who make in excess of $250,000 per year are essentially being discriminated against by the president and his Democratic cohorts simply because they earn more money.  Is this the same Democratic Party that wants equality and fairness for all?  This is hypocrisy at its pinnacle if you are striving for the same American Dream spoken of in the Democratic Platform or promoted by the union bosses on the stump.  I, for one, will never begrudge a fellow American for making more or succeeding more than me; that is their America right.

I have learned in my brief, yet thankfully full years that there is a circle of beliefs, or philosophies, we each must cultivate within ourselves if we are going to be well rounded, engaged people in this society and time in which we live.  Picture with me a circle with three points spaced equidistantly around the sphere.  The three points represent one’s philosophy of business, one’s philosophy of government, and one’s philosophy of community.  As we put these philosophies into practice, they move around the circle and interact with the others.  Each of these three philosophies will influence the other two, often to a vast degree.

Take my circle of beliefs for example.  My philosophy of business is rooted in the system of capitalism.  The basic principle of capitalism is founded in the 17th and 18th century idea that men are free moral agents with a free will to make decisions and ultimately control their own success or failure.  Capitalism, by most definitions, is an economic system based on the private ownership (not government) of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit.  Capitalism encourages a person, a business owner to decide what type of business they operate, how they manage that business, and who their business will cater to.

I believe that free markets ultimately help to keep a people free.  It is the uninhibited ingenuity of the entrepreneur, the capitalist that has been the backbone of our American society, from the mom and pop shops to the national chains, and has allowed our country to grow and expand more than any nation in the history of the world.  As Calvin Coolidge once said, “The chief business of the American people is business.”

With such a philosophy of business, it is fairly easy to discern my philosophy of government.  In my mind, a government primarily exists to protect us from each other and from outside threats, not to protect us from ourselves.  To paraphrase Thomas Paine, government, even in its best state, is a necessary evil and in its worst, an intolerable one.  Government, then, must be limited in its reach to ensure that it does not infringe on the rights of its citizens.

Government’s role is to provide equal opportunity for all to succeed, not mandate that we all succeed equally.  You see, government isn’t meant to be the savior of its people, to ensure its people never face struggles or hardships.  The inalienable rights of man must include the right to fail.  Without failure, there is no opportunity for success.  Even as hard as failing may be, there is something liberating about standing on your own two feet without a crutch.  Failing makes you appreciate and respect success, but not expect it or feel you are entitled to succeed to the same extent as your neighbor — it’s up to you.  Thomas Jefferson said, “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.”

I also believe that you and I know what to do with our money better than the government, which is why my philosophy of government calls for limited, low taxation at all levels, from city halls to state capitols to Congress.  I do not espouse the belief that just because someone earns more than me they should be taxed more than me; I don’t buy into the Robin Hood approach to government.  The problem with that approach is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.  Robin Hood was a great children’s story, but it makes for terrible economic and government policy.  Why should anyone, regardless of their earnings, be penalized for working hard and succeeding in America?  When the government requires less, every American has more.  There are more jobs, more free market competition, and more charitable giving, which is where my philosophy of community comes in.

My philosophy of community is centered on my personal belief in the Creator God who I believe instills in each of us the yearning to support and care for our fellow man.  I believe it is the responsibility of the local community through neighbor helping neighbor, communities of faith, charitable organizations, and the like to take up the reigns where government should leave off.  Local people know far better what the needs are of those in their community.  You see, the idea here is that we all can do more for the people in need in our local communities when we recognize the value of giving and engage passionately in service, rather than being forced by a government that will impose the redistribution of wealth and forced taxation for similar means.  Are you more willing to fully invest yourself into a project or work if you are told to or if you offer your hand willingly and freely?

It seems we now have a culture, propagated by the Democrats, that fears the spirit of the American people.  As a result, it is inclined to mandate and regulate morality and caring through government programs.  But living in fear is easier than understanding.  We foster goodwill and public sympathy not by force but through freedom.  In general, the more people have, the more they are willing to give.  That’s why it is paramount that we require less of government and instill in our citizens a positive, active, and caring philosophy of community.  An individual that freely invests their all into understanding and caring for their fellow man can do more for society than any government-mandated program ever will.

The Democrats rode in on a wave of promises in 2008.  Their platform is filled with a laundry list of ways to grow government, enhance entitlements, and castrate the hardworking, successful American worker. Politicians and bureaucrats should not be able to decide that you make too much money or that you should pay more for the greater good.  Such arrogance is hypocritical and is ultimately class discrimination, something that goes against the Democrats’ own mantra.

My fellow citizens, we must renew the promise of the American Dream and recapture the belief in the exceptionalism of this great country.   We the people must refuse to be divided by the political rhetoric of the day.  Stand up and be counted this November and let’s show these Democrats the door.

Frank Corder is a twice-elected Republican City Councilman in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  He hosts and co-hosts political talk shows on local radio and television.